Is the word 'concomitant' utilized only when intention attends the usage? The word 'attendant' means the same in many cases but doesn't seem to carry the sense of intentional concurrency. Should these two words be treated as we treat 'look' and 'see', 'listen' and 'hear'? (I was thinking about these examples... 'look' is intentioned while 'see' is not necessarily intentioned.)

(information from some later comments made by the original poster):

  • In fact, I think I have it all backwards. I was focused less on definition and more on application - but after another click, 'Attend' seems to suggest more intention than 'concomitant' (Merriam-Webster: "attend").

  • There is even a suggestion that no intention attends the usage (Merriam-Webster: "concomitant").

  • 3
    Could you please cite a definition from a professionally-compiled dictionary (in other words not Wiktionary, Wikipedia, or The Urban Dictionary) that says something about "intention" regarding the word concomitant? Oct 23, 2017 at 13:39
  • 2
    Can you edit your question to make it more clear? Cite some definitions (which may or may not mention intention) and also some uses in real world sentences (which may or may not involve intention). Also, please make the analogy with look/see more explicit (which two words...concomitant and attendant? which is supposed to go with which?)
    – Mitch
    Oct 23, 2017 at 21:34
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    Thank you for all the excellent feedback. You're right, this may not be the right forum and I did not research it enough before asking my question. I'm new here and your discussion about my question is also a valuable instruction to me to ask more effectively. Oct 23, 2017 at 23:55
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    I'm not clear on what it means for intention to attend the usage. Is there some special meaning of intention in classifying types of usage . . . or something?
    – Xanne
    Oct 24, 2017 at 8:59
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    @clare, yes. I just thought the question applied equally to both, as well as adverbs, actually. Oct 25, 2017 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


Checking OLD, Cambridge and Merriam-Webster for meaning, we glean the following:

Naturally accompanying or associated. OLD

Something that happens with something else and is connected with it. Cambridge

Accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way. Merriam-Webster.

Note nowhere in any of the above defintions is the word intended used (or any similar connotation).

Concomitant was Merriam Webster's word of the day on 03/07/2007, this special privilege afforded the word its own short podcast, which can be found a short way down M-W reference. The podcast relates the Latin roots of the word:

...a descendant of Latin concomitari ("to accompany") and ultimately of "comes," the Latin word for companion...

The podcast continues to describe two related words:

The two associated words, the verb concomitate, meaning "to accompany," and another adjective, concomitaneous, meaning "of a concomitant nature," didn't survive to accompany "concomitant" into the 18th century.

It is noticeable then that the Latin roots of the word are also absent of any intentional quality.

Steven J. Jensen, in Good and Evil Actions: A Journey Through Saint Thomas Aquinas makes use of the compound adjective concomitant-intentional when describing three scopes of object regarding intention:

We will call these views, respectively, concomitant-intention, end-intention, and means-intention.

This would make no sense at all if there was some inherent quality of intention in the word concomitant.

Having considered the above we can state with confidence then that there is no intentional quality to the word concomitant.

Concomitant refers to the quality of 'accompanying' (OLD, Merriam-Webster) or 'connect[ing]' (Cambridge). It has nothing at all to do with intention.


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